U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
What can I do about livestock coming from the public land onto my private land?
Nevada is an open range state. It is the responsibility of the private land owner to build a legal fence to keep livestock off private land. The Nevada Revised Statutes define a legal fence in N.R.S. 569.450, subsection 2, which is included below.
Some areas are designated as closed range. In closed range it is the obligation of the livestock owner to keep livestock off private lands. To find out if your area is closed range, call the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Brands Division.
The State of Nevada has statutes that govern liability for these types of damages. The statutes can be found at NRS 569.440 and 569.450.
N.R.S. 569.440 Damages for livestock; liability of landowners for injury to trespassing livestock; trespassing livestock treated as estrays.
1. If any livestock shall break into any grounds enclosed by a lawful fence, the owner or manager of such livestock shall be liable to the owner of such enclosed premises for all damages sustained by such trespass, If the trespass is repeated by neglect of the owner or manager of such livestock, he shall, for the second and every subsequent offense or trespass, be subject to double the damages of such trespass to the owner of the premises.
2. If any owner or occupies of any grounds or crops trespassed upon by livestock entering upon or breaking into his grounds, whether enclosed by a lawful fence or not, shall kill, maim or materially injure the livestock so trespassing, he shall be liable to the owner of such livestock for all damages, and for the costs accruing from a suit for such damages, when necessarily restored to for their recovery.
N.R.S. 569.450 Trespass of livestock on cultivated lands; damages not to be awarded if land not enclosed by legal fence.
1. No person, firm or corporation shall be entitled to collect damages, and no court in this state shall award damages, for any trespass of livestock on cultivated land in this state if such land, at the time of such trespass, shall not have been enclosed by a legal fence.
2. A legal fence is defined for the purposes of this section as a fence with not less than four horizontal barriers, consisting of wires, boards, poles or other fence material in common use in the neighborhood, with posts set not more than 20 feet apart. The lower barrier shall be not more than 12 inches from the ground and the space between any two barriers shall be not more than 12 inches and the height of top barrier must be at least 48 inches above the ground. Every post shall be so set as to withstand a horizontal strain of 250 pounds at a point midway between the posts.
These Nevada Statutes are administered by the Nevada Department of Agriculture, Brands Division. Questions about liabilities should be referred to the Brands Division.
The BLM can subject to the requirement of the Privacy Act provide private land owners with the name of public land livestock permittees in their vicinity.
Closed range areas are designated by city or county ordinances. Private land owners with livestock/private land conflicts may take their issue to the local city council and or county commission.
Conflicts with urban growth into areas historically grazed by livestock are increasing where communities are spreading into the more rural areas adjacent to Nevada cities and towns. To minimize livestock/private land conflicts, BLM often provides input to county planning agencies suggesting that developments be fenced in areas where public land grazing is authorized.
BLM also addresses these conflicts in the development of land use plans.